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Delhi: Want to return home but scared, say interfaith couple, days after violence

Speaking to The Indian Express, the couple -- 22-year-old Sumit and 19-year-old Khushi -- said they eloped and got married on March 17 as her parents were forcing her to get married to someone else.

Written by Jignasa Sinha | New Delhi |
Updated: March 25, 2021 11:05:57 am
Khushi and Sumit got married on March 17

The Delhi Police on Wednesday arrested a 28-year-old woman in connection with the violence over an interfaith marriage at Sarai Kale Khan’s Harijan Basti last week.

Shabana’s arrest comes a day after police said they had arrested six persons who were allegedly part of a group that assaulted locals and damaged vehicles. The group included relatives of a Muslim woman who had married a man from the Valmiki community, and were opposed to their relationship, police said.

Speaking to The Indian Express, the couple — 22-year-old Sumit and 19-year-old Khushi — said they eloped and got married on March 17 as her parents were forcing her to get married to someone else.

The couple said they want to return to their locality because they don’t have jobs, but are scared to do so.

Sumit, who lost his job during the pandemic, said he met Khushi three years ago at a shop in the area. “We never thought about our religion. We would meet at the grocery store and chat on Facebook. Our parents have known about our relationship for years… her parents even took her phone away and stopped her from going to school. We wanted to get married but didn’t know it would create such an issue. I have known her brothers and relatives for years; I can’t believe they were rioting that day,” he said.

Since their wedding at Saket court, the couple has been changing locations for their safety. The High Court has also asked police to provide security to the couple.

Sumit said that on March 16, when he was in Ghaziabad, Khushi called him and said her parents had fixed her engagement with another man on March 20.

The two got married the next day. They went to a temple two days later, where they performed rituals and got a marriage certificate. While Sumit’s parents accepted the marriage, the woman’s family went to the police and filed a missing person report.

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The woman said, “My parents never liked Sumit. In December, his parents came to our house but my father rejected the proposal. They were forcing me to get engaged so I called Sumit and asked him to come to Delhi.”

On Tuesday, the couple also released a video where they appealed to the Prime Minister and the President to provide them with security. Sumit claimed he and his family had received death threats. “They say they will kick us out of the locality and won’t let us live,” he alleged.

The woman’s mother Baneesa (50) and sister Amreen (24), however, said they did not know about her relationship with Sumit.

“She left us without even telling us about the boy she’s marrying. My son and Amreen’s fiance have been picked up for no reason. We want the police to release them. We don’t want our daughter back. She didn’t even care for her family; why did she not protest when we were trying to get her engaged? She and her husband are lying in front of cameras now,” said Baneesa.

DCP (Southeast) R P Meena said security has been tightened in the area.

The latest to be arrested, Shabana, sells vegetables and is accused of “inciting” the woman’s family and locals on Saturday night.

DCP Meena said she was picked up for questioning on Tuesday and arrested after police found evidence against her.

Locals alleged she brought 10-20 men with her and shouted slogans to incite the group. Shabana’s sister Sitara however claimed she was not part of the mob but was instead trying to stop the fight.

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